iPhone-6-review-testsIt has finally happened – although Apple have always been against smartphones with a larger screen diagonal, and consumers’ opinions have never mattered to them, the change has come as the large mass of consumers successfully „forced“ the folks down in Cupertino to grant their wish. We’ve all asked ourselves the question – what will happen without the firm hand of Jobs? Will the absence of a CEO who can take radical decisions slowly but surely lead the company down the road to destruction?

It seems, however, that even if that moment comes, it won’t be now – Apple have sold 10 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus units in just one weekend. For comparison, the flagman of Samsung, Galaxy S5, needed 30 days to reach the 11 million mark. One has to keep in mind, that both new iPhones were initially released in only 10 countries and by the end of the year, they will be available in 115. Just imagine what will happen, when on the 17th of October, both phones hit the Chinese market, and you will get an idea why the market capitalization of Apple is 600 billion dollars, while a giant, such as Google, is valued at around 390 billion.

These numbers are not at all decisive for our opinion on the new iPhone, but they definitely brought the matter to attention – How did the team in California successfully managed to take on the difficult task of redesigning their hit device – after all, when something sells like hot cakes, it requires a lot of gut and skill to change it. Traditionally, however, at Apple that happens every two years, and this year is just one of those times for an entirely new generation – iPhone 6.

Contents


What’s in the box?

Although Apple are fans of simplicity, it’s unlikely that you’ve expected the iPhone 6 to arrive in such a minimalist box. Besides the company logo and the iPhone inscription, it is decorated only with a real size silhouette of the smartphone. It is the first thing you’ll see upon lifting the top. Underneath it you will find the high quality EarPods headset, the Lightning port (to USB) for charging and synchronization, an adapter plug and brief documentation.

jpeg

Design and construction

As we already mentioned, the iPhone 6 offers a complete redesign – this has happened once every two generations since the 3G (2008) model until now. The design calls back to several iconic Apple products – rounded edges combined with a metal structure immediately reminds us of the first iPhone, which Apple used to completely revamp the market, forcing every other company to follow in their footsteps. However, the original iPhone didn’t have a full metal back. The bottom part was covered with plastic, to better facilitate its antennas. For the same reason, the iPhone 6 also doesn’t have a complete metal back, and even though the plastic covers only two thin strips (on the top and bottom side), it cannot be ignored.

IMG_5966-0

As we look at the back of the device, something else makes an impression – the protruding camera. Here we immediately make a connection to the fifth (and last) iPod touch generation, whose module protruded only 0.6 mm off the body. In iPhone 6, the camera is sticks out 0.77 mm, which together with the the body (6.85 mm) makes a total of 7.62 mm. Hardly anyone would be particularly disappointed if Apple had leveled the thickness of the back of the device, putting these 0.77 mm to good use to increase battery capacity, but it remains unclear whether the 0.02 increase in overall thickness, compared to iPhone 5 / 5s (7.60 millimeters), did not psychologically affect Johnny Ive and his design team. We would prefer the 7.62 mm version. Here we must note that the diameter of the camera has also been increased, compared to that of the 5/5S – from 6.14 mm in last year’s generation, to 7.20 mm with the current flagship model.

The TrueTone Flash is located a centimeter to the right of the lens. This time around, it’s shape is round – when we first glanced upon the „leaked“ schematics of the iPhone 6, on which it was easy to see the round construction of the flash, we asked ourselves if it was possible that Apple have changed the TrueTone technology that combines two LEDs with different color temperature, opting for something new. It turned out that engineers were simply able to fit it into a round module.

png-1

What is interesting is that for the first time, Apple has released two new iPhones on the market, with the major difference being the size of their bodies. Along with the standard iPhone 6, the California company also launched the iPhone 6 Plus. The former has a 4.7 inch screen, while the latter is equipped with a 5.5 inch one. This way, the company is now in the race for market share in the phablet section, where the leader at the time is the Galaxy Note line from the Samsung. Here is what the iPhone 6 looks like between the iPhone 6 Plus and last year’s 4-inch iPhone 5s.

size-compare

As expected, the 5s looks miniature next to his new brethren – iPhone 6 being 15.2 mm tall and the iPhone 6 Plus – 35.2 mm. The width is crucial for a comfortable grip. The iPhone6 is approximately one centimeter wider(58.6 mm – 67 mm), while the 6 Plus has two cm more on that axis (77.8 mm).

The camera on the 6 Plus also protrudes, but a bit less – 0.67 mm. Therefore, it’s diameter is larger – 7.66 mm (and it has optical image stabilization). We remind you that the corresponding values of the standard version are 0.77 mm and 7.20 mm, respectively. We’ll give the iPhone 6 Plus its own time under the spotlight in a dedicated detailed review.

back
front

The front of the iPhone 6 is more simplified – although there are several sensors and an earphone, their presence is well disguised, so as not to get in the way the smartphone’s appearance. The ‘face’ microphone, hidden in the earpiece slot, the ambient light sensor and the proximity sensor are placed above the 4.7-inch screen. There you will also find the FaceTime camera that caputres HD video (720p) and 1.2 megapixel still shots, using an automatic HDR mode to achieve better quality in both cases. The physical Home-button is positioned in the horizontal center below the screen and its design naturally includes the TouchID fingerprint sensor, which we will be discussing shortly.

A very beautiful feature of the iPhone 6, which you will only notice if you look at the phone very closely, is the smooth connection between the glass protected from bumps and scratches and the anodized aluminum. To make everything perfect, the glass is curved around the edges of the device, where the aluminum starts.

curved-glass

If you are an iPhone user, the buttons and port placement won’t surprise you at all, except for the repositioning of the Power button to the right side, because the height of the phone would make it inconvenient to access if it were left on the top. Again on the right, you will find the Nano-SIM card tray, which is a „drawer“ type and is traditionally opened via a sharp object (paper clip, pin). Now that the on/off button is removed from the top, there is nothing there, while at the bottom, you will find the main microphone, phone jack, the Lightning port and the loudspeaker. The volume rocker and the silent mode switch remain on the left side.

Side photos

side-1side-2side-3side-4side-5

Touch ID fingerprint sensor

We have already talked about the TouchID technology when we reviewed the iPhone 5s, in which the sensor was implemented for the first time. Created by AuthenTec (developers of biometric defenses, a company now owned by Apple), the sensor successfully offered the best and easiest to use protection for the casual consumer. There were some successful attempts at “cracking it”, but none of them through software. Instead, they utilized physical extraction of the imprint from the Home-button – something, that can be extremely difficult to accomplish in real life conditions, and if you’ve encountered any ill-wishers that would consider doing something like that, they would hardly choose this method of obtaining the necessary information (as we have mentioned before – you can relax, a cut off hand doesn’t do the trick, since the sensor needs to register the electric activity of living cells).

touch-id

The most important thing in this case is that Apple successfully encrypts your fingerprint in a special layer of the SoC, and access to it is impossible both for you and its developers. We don’t exclude the possibility that someday this protection could be overcome, but it seems rather unlikely at this time.

It is possible for the Touch ID sensor to not work properly if your hand is wet (or if you have injured your finger) – the solution here is to “slide” to the right and enter your four digit code, which you must type in, in addition to providing your fingerprint.

The scanner operates at 360 degrees and has a thickness of 170 microns. When you place your finger on it, a thin metal ring detects the electric impulse and activates the capacitive sensor. If your phone is in “Sleep” mode, you will need to press the button, which operates through a tactile switch, wait for the distinct “click” and in about half a second, and you will be on your Home screen. During that time, the indentations and protrusions of the imprint are detected (even beneath the epidermis), and they are matched to information in the memory card.

This is an even easier way to unlock your phone than “Slide to Unlock”, so there isn’t any reason for you not to take advantage of the new Apple invention. Moreover, the new iPhone models are becoming less and less desirable for smartphone thieves.

Does the iPhone 6 bend and to what extent is #BendGate real?

Each release of a new iPhone is accompanied by an instant quest for some kind of flaw, and its exaggeration by Apple’s competitors. In the case of iPhone 6, the most-popular “defect” is the so-called #BendGate or, in other words, the bending of the structure without putting much strain on it. Yes, we had our fair share of laughter at the most popular jokes about it on the Web, but the truth is what Apple officially announced – in order to bend the body of an iPhone 6 or the bigger iPhone 6 Plus a large amount of pressure is required. That is almost impossible to do during normal usage. To prove this, however, the organization of Consumer Protection “Consumer Reports” got involved. It tested 6 modern smartphones, including two new models of Apple.

In the video below, you can see how the tests proceeded, but the result is that the HTC One (M8) got the lowest score from all the tested units and in order to bend the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, you would need a to apply pressure equal to 32 and 41 kilos, respectively. In order to bust open the bodies, the values are increased to 45 for the 6, and 50 for the 6 Plus, and for the iPhone 5 and Galaxy Note 3, the required force is equal to 68 kilos. On top of that, all the tests are ran by applying pressure on a small area in the center of the hull, which is held still at both ends. You can figure out for yourselves that such pressure can’t be generated by carrying it in your front pant pocket (as said in some statements on the Web) and if it that were possible, your smartphone would be the least of your worries.

Manufacturer and Model Applied pressure until deformation Applied pressure before breaking
HTC One (M8) 31.75 kg 40.82 kg
Apple iPhone 6 31.75 kg 45.35 kg
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 40.82 kg 49.89 kg
LG G3 58.96 kg 58.96 kg
Apple iPhone 5 58.96 kg 68.00 kg
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 68.00 kg 68.00 kg

Display and sound

The screen of the iPhone 6 is an IPS capacitive, multi-sensor display with a resolution of 1334 x 750 pixels. Its diagonal is 4.7-inch long (11.94 cm). The density is 326 ppi, with 0.078 x 0.078 mm between the pixels. In order for the display to be considered“Retina” (an Apple’s trademark for indicating displays on which the human eye can’t see separate pixels from a 10-12 inch distance), the screen must be viewed from a distance equal to or greater than 28 cm.

The microscope photo shows the size and location of the sub pixels.

E-MIcroscope-Apple iPhone 6

You can judge the viewing angles of the iPhone 6 for yourselves. The image below which shows samples taken at a 45° angles.

Angles-Apple iPhone 6

The measured average maximum screen brightness is very high – 512 cd / m2 and it will allow usage in high ambient light conditions. The measured contrast ratio is 1250: 1.

E-Brightness-Apple iPhone 6

Range of color space (CIE)

The display of the Apple iPhone 6 covers 96% of sRGB and 75% of the Adobe RGB color gamuts, ensuring almost full color coverage on the Web.

E-CIE-Apple iPhone 6

The gamma curve of the display coincided perfectly with the optimal value of 2.2, ensuring perfect distribution of brightness levels.

Gamma-Apple iPhone 6

Color reproduction

The Apple iPhone 6 has accurate colors. They are the result of a high-quality matrix and a LDE backlight with improved spectral characteristics, but the light has the familiar peak in the blues. The mean deviation (DeltaE) at maximum brightness is a low 1.45.

Colour-Apple iPhone 6

The color map shows compliance with the sample colors.

E-DisplayColor-Apple iPhone 6

Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM)

In this respect, the display of Apple iPhone 6 is harmless for the eyes. We didn’t catch any harmful ripples, typical of the wide-pulse modulation in the entire brightness range.

Comparison

If we assume a distance of 38cm (~15 in) between the human eye and the smartphone’s display to be optimal, then normal (20/20) vision would require a pixel density of at least 230ppi in order to interpret an image as perfectly detailed.

Smartphones Results (ppi) Result
difference
Price
Apple iPhone 6 4.7-inch, IPS, 750 x 1334 pixels, Ion-strengthened glass 325.61 0 % Check price
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge 5.1-inch, Super AMOLED (curved), 1440 x 2560 pixels, Gorilla Glass 4 575.92 76.87 % Check price
Motorola (Google) Nexus 6 5.94-inch, Super AMOLED, 1440 x 2560 pixels, Gorilla Glass 3 494.48 51.86 % Check price
LG G3 (3GB RAM) 5.5-inch, IPS+, 1440 x 2560 pixels, Gorilla Glass 3 534.04 64.01 % Check price

Higher panel brightness is of key importance for visual comfort when working outside or in a brightly lit room.

Smartphones Results (cd/m2) Result
difference
Price
Apple iPhone 6 4.7-inch, IPS, 750 x 1334 pixels, Ion-strengthened glass 512 0 % Check price
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge 5.1-inch, Super AMOLED (curved), 1440 x 2560 pixels, Gorilla Glass 4 602 17.58 % Check price
Motorola (Google) Nexus 6 5.94-inch, Super AMOLED, 1440 x 2560 pixels, Gorilla Glass 3 268 – 47.66 % Check price
LG G3 (3GB RAM) 5.5-inch, IPS+, 1440 x 2560 pixels, Gorilla Glass 3 438 – 14.45 % Check price

Delta E (CIE 2000) is a CIE measurement unit of color difference. Higher values indicate that the display produces less accurate colors. (lower results are desirable).

Smartphones Results Result
difference
Price
Apple iPhone 6 4.7-inch, IPS, 750 x 1334 pixels, Ion-strengthened glass 1.45 0 % Check price
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge 5.1-inch, Super AMOLED (curved), 1440 x 2560 pixels, Gorilla Glass 4 1.17 19.31 % Check price
Motorola (Google) Nexus 6 5.94-inch, Super AMOLED, 1440 x 2560 pixels, Gorilla Glass 3 1.29 11.03 % Check price
LG G3 (3GB RAM) 5.5-inch, IPS+, 1440 x 2560 pixels, Gorilla Glass 3 2.67 – 84.14 % Check price

The coverage of the sRGB color gamut, introduced as a standard for the Web, shows the percentage of colors used on the Web that can be displayed on the screen of the device being tested (higher values are better).

Smartphones Results (%) Result
difference
Price
Apple iPhone 6 4.7-inch, IPS, 750 x 1334 pixels, Ion-strengthened glass 96 0 % Check price
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge 5.1-inch, Super AMOLED (curved), 1440 x 2560 pixels, Gorilla Glass 4 99 3.13 % Check price
Motorola (Google) Nexus 6 5.94-inch, Super AMOLED, 1440 x 2560 pixels, Gorilla Glass 3 100 4.17 % Check price
LG G3 (3GB RAM) 5.5-inch, IPS+, 1440 x 2560 pixels, Gorilla Glass 3 97 1.04 % Check price

Conclusions

The display of Apple iPhone 6 takes a rightful place at the forefront of the flagship devices. The vivid and sharp image reproduction, comfortable wide viewing angels, and accurate colors without harmful vibrations all contribute to the wonderful performance of the device as a whole.

Battery

Apple iPhone 4 and 4s were equipped with 1420/1432 mAh batteries and the iPhone 5 and 5s – with 1440 mAh and 1560 mAh, respectively. Until now we could’ve only imagined what endurance a smartphone would demonstrate with the wonderful optimization of iOS combined with a larger display and a higher capacity battery. Now we have the opportunity to test such a device, and even though the battery capacity is only 1810 mAh, we have high expectations.

In order to give the new iPhone the chance to live up to them, we are going to run our standard tests; Internet surfing, phone calls, video playback and 3D gaming. All this happens at 120cd/m2 brightness, turned on Wi-Fi and turned off 3G.

Talk time

Traditionally, the first test is a phone call one. Here, for the first time an iPhone model shows a result higher than 11 hours (5s stood up for 625 minutes)

The iPhone 6 managed to successfully break that record, reaching 857 minutes (14 hours and 17 minutes).

Surfing the Web

Our main test for comparison is surfing the web, and it is run by our own script which searches through 70 Bulgarian and foreign websites at, and as we already mentioned, 120 nits brightness and Wi-Fi connection.

Apple iPhone 5s stays on for 643 minutes at this stress level, and the new iPhone 6 doesn’t handle it as well, but that is to be expected because of the bigger screen – 573 minutes (9 hours and 33 minutes).

3D gaming

To simulate a 3D game, we use the Epic Citadel benchmark by Epic Games.

Here the new iPhone prevails, lasting 258 minutes (4 hours and 18 minutes) on a single charge, which is exactly 100 minutes more than last year’s iPhone 5s.

Video playback

For this test we play a 720p HD video.

In video playback the iPhone 6 shows slight progress – 594 minutes (9 hours and 54 minutes) versus the 571 minutes on the 5s. Good result.

Endurance comparison to competitive models

In the following graph you can view a comparison between phones of the same class:

In this test the screen doesn’t affect the battery life, since the proximity sensor turns it off during phone calls.

Smartphones Results (min.) Result
difference
Price
Apple iPhone 6 1810 mAh, 4.7-inch, IPS, Apple A8 (APL1011) 857 0 % Check price
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge 2600 mAh, 5.1-inch, Super AMOLED (curved), Samsung Exynos 7 Octa (7420) 1313 53.21 % Check price
Motorola (Google) Nexus 6 3220 mAh, 5.94-inch, Super AMOLED, Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 (APQ8084) 979 14.24 % Check price
LG G3 (3GB RAM) 3000 mAh, 5.5-inch, IPS+, Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 (MSM8974AC) 1500 75.03 % Check price

We run our Web surfing test with a custom-made script, which browses through 70 popular web pages.

Smartphones Results (min.) Result
difference
Price
Apple iPhone 6 1810 mAh, 4.7-inch, IPS, Apple A8 (APL1011) 573 0 % Check price
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge 2600 mAh, 5.1-inch, Super AMOLED (curved), Samsung Exynos 7 Octa (7420) 696 21.47 % Check price
Motorola (Google) Nexus 6 3220 mAh, 5.94-inch, Super AMOLED, Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 (APQ8084) 517 – 9.77 % Check price
LG G3 (3GB RAM) 3000 mAh, 5.5-inch, IPS+, Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 (MSM8974AC) 466 – 18.67 % Check price

This test uses the same custom-made script, but we use 3G connection instead of Wi-Fi.

Smartphones Results (min.) Result
difference
Price
Apple iPhone 6 1810 mAh, 4.7-inch, IPS, Apple A8 (APL1011) 0 % Check price
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge 2600 mAh, 5.1-inch, Super AMOLED (curved), Samsung Exynos 7 Octa (7420) 480 0 % Check price
Motorola (Google) Nexus 6 3220 mAh, 5.94-inch, Super AMOLED, Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 (APQ8084) 511 0 % Check price
LG G3 (3GB RAM) 3000 mAh, 5.5-inch, IPS+, Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 (MSM8974AC) 0 % Check price

For this test we use a looping 720p movie.

Smartphones Results (min.) Result
difference
Price
Apple iPhone 6 1810 mAh, 4.7-inch, IPS, Apple A8 (APL1011) 594 0 % Check price
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge 2600 mAh, 5.1-inch, Super AMOLED (curved), Samsung Exynos 7 Octa (7420) 844 42.09 % Check price
Motorola (Google) Nexus 6 3220 mAh, 5.94-inch, Super AMOLED, Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 (APQ8084) 672 13.13 % Check price
LG G3 (3GB RAM) 3000 mAh, 5.5-inch, IPS+, Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 (MSM8974AC) 567 – 4.55 % Check price

In order to simulate 3D gaming, we use Epic Citadel cycles at High Quality setting.

Smartphones Results (min.) Result
difference
Price
Apple iPhone 6 1810 mAh, 4.7-inch, IPS, Apple A8 (APL1011) 258 0 % Check price
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge 2600 mAh, 5.1-inch, Super AMOLED (curved), Samsung Exynos 7 Octa (7420) 241 – 6.59 % Check price
Motorola (Google) Nexus 6 3220 mAh, 5.94-inch, Super AMOLED, Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 (APQ8084) 212 – 17.83 % Check price
LG G3 (3GB RAM) 3000 mAh, 5.5-inch, IPS+, Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 (MSM8974AC) 219 – 15.12 % Check price

Specs sheet

The specs listed here refer to this particular model and its configuration. It is possible smartphones of the same series will differ in their specs.

iphone6-model
Operating system iOS 8.0.2
CPU Apple A8 (2-core, 1.40 GHz, Cyclone)
RAM 1GB RAM
Storage 16GB
GPU PowerVR GX6450
Display 4.7-inch (11.94 cm) – IPS, 1334 х 750 pixels (326 PPI)
Connectivity LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 + A2DP, NFC, GPS (a-GPS + GLONASS), Lightning port
Cameras 8-megapixel with autofocus, TrueTone Flash LED, [email protected]/60fps video recording (back); 1.2-megapixel, [email protected] (front)
Features Accelerometer, gyro, proximity sensor, compass, barometer, Touch ID fingerprint sensor
Battery 1810 mAh
Dimensions (W/H/D) 143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm – 8.8 mm
Weight 129 g (4.55 oz)

As we already mentioned in the review above, even though the micrometer measures a 7.62 mm thickness at the phone’s thickest point, this value applies only to the protruding camera, while the rest of the body of the iPhone 6 is 6.9 mm thick.

Apple iPhone 6 is also available in versions with 64 and 128 gigabytes of internal memory. Here is how the specifications look vs those of the larger iPhone 6 Plus.

Specs sheet Apple iPhone 6 Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Operating system iOS 8 iOS 8
CPU 2-core Apple A8 (1.4 GHz, 64-bit) 2-core Apple A8 (1.4 GHz, 64-bit)
RAM 1GB RAM 1GB RAM
Storage 16/64/128GB 16/64/128GB
GPU PowerVR GX6650 PowerVR GX6650
Display 4.7-inch – HD (1334 х 750 pixels), IPS 5.5-inch – Full HD (1920 х 1080 pixels), IPS
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 + A2DP, EDR, LTE, GPS, NFC Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 + A2DP, EDR, LTE, GPS, NFC
Camera 1.2-megapixel, [email protected] (front), 8-megapixel, f/2.2 aperture, HDR, 240fps slow motion video recording, TrueToneFlash LED, 43МР panorama (back), 1.5µ pixels 1.2-megapixel, [email protected] (front), 8-megapixel, f/2.2 aperture, HDR, 240fps slow motion video recording, TrueToneFlash LED, 43МР panorama, OIS, 1.5µ pixels (back)
Features TouchID fingerprint sensor, iBeacon micro-location, compass, barometer, gyro, Accelerometer, ambient light sensor TouchID fingerprint sensor, iBeacon micro-location, compass, barometer, gyro, Accelerometer, ambient light sensor
Battery 11 hours Web surfing 12 hours Web surfing
Dimensions (without the camera) 138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm 158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1 mm
Weight 129 g (4.55 oz) 172 g (6.06 oz)

Software

iOS 8 is Apple’s newest mobile operating system, and although it had some issues on it’s initial release, it is safe to say that now it has great stability and optimization. This is easily proven by testing out some “heavy-duty” games or by just going trough the simple looking user interface. Once you look at the specs and do the math you, get a nice surprise – the iPhone 6 has 1GB of RAM and a two-core processor clocking at 1.4 GHz, but still runs much faster than some smartphones that have 2 gigs of RAM and eight-core processors, some clocked at as much as 2 GHz.

We will give iOS 8 due attention in a special article, but first we must mention that stock apps like Maps, GameCenter, Health, PassBook, Newsstand etc are available here as well, and to make them easier to use (as the bigger screen size prooves to be a difficulty), Apple have decided to add the “double tap” function on the Home-button, which “lowers” the top half of the display to the bottom.

Screenshots of the user interface and software of iPhone 6

IMG_0538IMG_0541IMG_0539IMG_0540IMG_0542

Performance

Apple A8

a8-chip

How are Apple devices capable of opposing other flagship products in speed and performance, when on paper, the iPhone specs are worse? Software optimization can do wonders, but it is not enough – participating in the “battle” of “who has the highest highest clock speed” or “which one has most cores” isn’t a priority to Apple. Instead, they are working on developing the current cores and chips without multiplying them. In fact, that is the most important thing and it is the reason most users trying out an iPhone for the first time they are shocked by its speed. Incidentally, last year Qualcomm released a very interesting video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdauwqhmsas), demonstrating why the philosophy of ordinary people should change. At the same time, the company launched its new 805 model, claiming it can go “up to 2.7 GHz”, but in reality it can sustain this frequency for a short period of time, and after that it falls down rapidly. The Apple A8 can run at 1.4 GHz for at least 20 minutes.

iphone-6-throttling

The A8 uses the same Cyclone cores as the A7 (2x 1.4 GHz) but it is a more advanced model, and the cores are built through a 20-nanometer fabrication process by TSMC. This is the first time the folks in California are placing an order to a manufacturer other than Samsung. Although the A8 is smaller in size (89 square mm) than the A7 (102 square mm), it contains about 2 billion transistors, offering nearly twice the density of its predecessor, while its consuming 25% less power and achieving much higher performance. To compare, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 contains about 0.7 billion transistors.

The graphic processor of the A8 is the successor of the one used in A7 G6430 – PowerVR GX6450. Apple shows the progress of the GPU productivity with an interesting graph…

gpu-progress

There is also a coprocessor, which first appeared in the 5s, but it has been enhanced and is now called M8. Besides the number of steps and distance the M7 was capable of tracking, the new M8 also detects denivelation. In general, Apple will bet a great deal on this functionality to make developers work hard on their applications, keeping mind the users’ health.

Computing performance

Geekbench 3.0 is Primate Labs cross-platform processor benchmark which simulates real-world scenarios and gives a combined score, based on the results of integer, floating point and memory performance.

Smartphones Results Result
difference
Price
Apple iPhone 6 Apple A8 (APL1011) (2-core, 1.4 GHz), 1GB RAM 2880 0 % Check price
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge Samsung Exynos 7 Octa (7420) (4-core, 000, 2.1 GHz), 3GB RAM 4469 55.17 % Check price
Motorola (Google) Nexus 6 Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 (APQ8084) (4-core, Krait 450, 2.7 GHz), 3GB RAM 3332 15.69 % Check price
LG G3 (3GB RAM) Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 (MSM8974AC) (4-core, Krait 400, 3GB RAM 2381 – 17.33 % Check price

Metal 3 is the latest version of Vellamo’s CPU benchmark.

Smartphones Results Result
difference
Price
Apple iPhone 6 Apple A8 (APL1011) (2-core, 1.4 GHz), 1GB RAM 0 % Check price
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge Samsung Exynos 7 Octa (7420) (4-core, 000, 2.1 GHz), 3GB RAM 2670 0 % Check price
Motorola (Google) Nexus 6 Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 (APQ8084) (4-core, Krait 450, 2.7 GHz), 3GB RAM 1593 0 % Check price
LG G3 (3GB RAM) Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 (MSM8974AC) (4-core, Krait 400, 3GB RAM 1575 0 % Check price

Vellamo 2 Metal measures the CPU subsystem performance of mobile processors.

Smartphones Results Result
difference
Price
Apple iPhone 6 Apple A8 (APL1011) (2-core, 1.4 GHz), 1GB RAM 0 % Check price
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge Samsung Exynos 7 Octa (7420) (4-core, 000, 2.1 GHz), 3GB RAM 1595 0 % Check price
Motorola (Google) Nexus 6 Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 (APQ8084) (4-core, Krait 450, 2.7 GHz), 3GB RAM 1369 0 % Check price
LG G3 (3GB RAM) Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 (MSM8974AC) (4-core, Krait 400, 3GB RAM 1296 0 % Check price

GPU performance

The T-Rex 2.7 test is based on ES 2.0/GL 3.0 and includes highly detailed textures, materials, complex geometry, particles with animated textures and a post-process motion blur effect. The graphics pipeline also features planar reflections, specular highlights and soft-shadows.

Smartphones Results Result
difference
Price
Apple iPhone 6 Apple A8 (APL1011); 0.45 GHz ; 1GB RAM 42.7 0 % Check price
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge Samsung Exynos 7 Octa (7420); GPU: 000, 0.77 GHz ; 3GB RAM 59 38.17 % Check price
Motorola (Google) Nexus 6 Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 (APQ8084); GPU: Adreno 420, 0.6 GHz ; 3GB RAM 39.8 – 6.79 % Check price
LG G3 (3GB RAM) Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 (MSM8974AC); GPU: Adreno 330, ; 3GB RAM 27.5 – 35.6 % Check price

The Manhattan 3.0 test is based on ES 3.0 / GL 4.1 and uses deferred rendering and multi-render target (MRT) for the geometry pass, diffuse and specular lightning. It also features complex effects such as depth shadow map, cloaking effect, post-process effects (bloom, depth of field), occlusion query and animated volumetric light shafts.

Smartphones Results Result
difference
Price
Apple iPhone 6 Apple A8 (APL1011); 0.45 GHz ; 1GB RAM 17.8 0 % Check price
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge Samsung Exynos 7 Octa (7420); GPU: 000, 0.77 GHz ; 3GB RAM 26 46.07 % Check price
Motorola (Google) Nexus 6 Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 (APQ8084); GPU: Adreno 420, 0.6 GHz ; 3GB RAM 19.3 8.43 % Check price
LG G3 (3GB RAM) Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 (MSM8974AC); GPU: Adreno 330, ; 3GB RAM 11.8 – 33.71 % Check price

In this test, 3DMark’s Unlimited engine uses a fixed frame interval and renders exactly the same frames in every run on every device. The frames are rendered in 720p “offscreen” while the display is updated with small frame thumbnails every 100 frames to indicate progress.

Smartphones Results Result
difference
Price
Apple iPhone 6 Apple A8 (APL1011); 0.45 GHz ; 1GB RAM 17482 0 % Check price
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge Samsung Exynos 7 Octa (7420); GPU: 000, 0.77 GHz ; 3GB RAM 22523 28.84 % Check price
Motorola (Google) Nexus 6 Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 (APQ8084); GPU: Adreno 420, 0.6 GHz ; 3GB RAM 23594 34.96 % Check price
LG G3 (3GB RAM) Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 (MSM8974AC); GPU: Adreno 330, ; 3GB RAM 16916 – 3.24 % Check price

Real games

The phone didn’t encounter any kind of resistance in performance during our real gaming tests of Asphalt 8 and FIFA 15, and thanks to the Metal technology, the racing simulator looks as if we are playing it on a recent generation console.

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Camera

The rear-facing camera of the Apple iPhone 6 has an entirely new 8-megapixel sensor, 3264 x 2448 pixels, relative lens aperture of 1:2.2 and software image stabilization. The pixel size is 1.5 micrometers, the lens is protected by a sapphire coating to prevent scratches. The “True Tone” flash of the device is familiar to us from the previous model – broad spectrum with two LEDs for different color temperatures.

Camera-Apple iPhone 6

Resolution

The camera resolution isn’t determined only by the pixel count in the matrix. It also relies on the resolution of the lens. The high number of megapixels is meaningless if the lens doesn’t have the right image sharpness. When the latter produces two thin lines as one, no matter how much we increase the pixel count that register the image, we can never separate those two lines.

The total resolution of the lens and the matrix is always less than the lower of the two and therefore, you need perfect balance. We must not forget the third factor – the hardware and software paring for processing the information from the sensor, which dictates the speed of the camera and the quality of the picture itself. We measure the total resolution in lph (line per high), using the ISO 12233 test chart.

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The camera of the iPhone 6 reaches a maximum resolution of 2030 lph in the center of the field, placing it ahead of some 13-megapixel devices. This, of course, isn’t a great accomplishment – many smartphones have already passed the maximum range of this chart – 2400 lph.

However, there are substantial benefits – the perfect speed handling made a huge impression on us. The fast autofocus, combined with the easy to use software, provides a way to take multiple shots without any lag, even in HDR mode. There are no “wait until the image is recorded” inscriptions or a warning not to shoot moving objects in HDR (with some smartphones you even get unstable shots of clouds using the aforementioned mode). With this phone you just point and shoot, then again, and again…without having to hold a device as hot as freshly baked bread and ending up withan empty battery. Two sample shots – normal and HDR mode.

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If you want a 20-megapixel shot, that can be arranged thanks to the fact that Apple iPhone 6 is capable of taking 42-megapixel panoramic photos. Below you can see a 20-megapixel shot.

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Here you can see zoomed portions (from the green circles) of a different 20-megapixel photo.

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From the test composition we acquire a good idea about the levels of image sharpness, color noise and chromatic aberrations.

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The text is readable without any difficulty and the JPG-compression artifacts are negligible.

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Aberrations and color noise

This also applies to the chromatic aberrations. An inseparable companion of small cameras that sticks to the darker parts of the shot even in good light conditions is color noise, which happens to be missing in this case.

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We would define the results of the test composition as excellent.

The char below shows the low level of geometric distortion.

Color reproduction

The camera reproduced the color test chart with accurate colors.

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Blue good
Green very good
Red very good
Yellow good
Magenta good
Cyan very good
White Excellent
Black good

We give it 9.2/10.

You can see the color differences in the digital color map below.

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Extra features

The camera of Apple iPhone 6 allows you to assign the exposure for a selected location of the image.

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A quick look at the menus

In the settings, you will find only the most necessary. The camera is optimized for users who prefer the best possible pictures in automatic mode. Those who want more options have to use third party apps.

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Sample photos

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Video recording

By default, the rear camera of iPhone 6 records 1080p (Full HD) video at 30 frames per second (sadly, only in mono audio). You can set your phone to record at 60 fps by going to Settings>Photos & Camera and switching on “Record Video at 60 FPS”.

You can see the quality of the video on automatic settings below, and to make sure you watch it with maximum detail, you must tap the gear icon and choose the highest value.

Video recording in slow motion

Apple iPhone 6 can record video at 240 frames per second in 720p. The result will surely impress you – once again note that to watch the video in maximum detail, you must tap the gear and choose the highest value.

Clash – Apple iPhone 6 vs Sony Xperia Z3

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The good performance of the camera in iPhone 6 convinced us present it to you in a slightly more detailed way, finding for it a worthy opponent to face. We did this to make it clear how it performs in real situations. For a worthy “sparring partner” we chose the new Xperia Z3 from Sony. It possesses one of the best cameras on the market right now – 1/2.3” sensor, 4K video recording and 20.7 million pixels.

Please note that facing Sony’s “giant” is the 8-megapixel, but very high-quality sensor in combination with an improved lens, the sum of which is the Apple iSight camera. We will run some comparative tests in favorable and unfavorable and scenarios – macro, against the sun, panorama shot, Full HD video, slow motion recording and stabilization. The last “fight” isn’t going to be easy for the California product, since Sony just introduced their new SteadyShot Intelligent Active technology, which we presented in detail in a special article. We must admit that we were impressed by the good job the Japanese have done, but we are certain that Apple has made sure there will be no “vibrating” videos from the iPhone.

All pictures were taken in automatic mode that Sony calls “Intelligent Auto” and Apple… well, Apple doesn’t have a manual one. We upload the photos in actual size, without any manipulation and, in order to download them, you must simply click on them and then right click on the loaded image and choose “Save image as…” from the menu.

Macro shots

Both pictures are very detailed, but the iPhone’s auto white balance is slightly better.

The picture on the left is from iPhone 6 and the one on the right – from Xperia Z3.

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Picture against the sun

Here is how both phones perform with backlight.

Left- Apple iPhone 6, right – Sony Xperia Z3.

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Landscape

Left- Apple iPhone 6, right – Sony Xperia Z3.

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Low light conditions

Left- Apple iPhone 6, right – Sony Xperia Z3.

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Low light conditions (+artificial light from an ordinary light bulb)

Left- Apple iPhone 6, right – Sony Xperia Z3.

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Panorama shot

Even though the Xperia Z3 has a 20.7-megapixel sensor, it takes panorama shots in only 5-megapixel size. In order to compare them, we lower the photo taken by the iPhone to the same pixel count and use only a small part of both photos.

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Full HD video recording

The conditions for recording aren’t optimal because the ambient light is low, but since both phones are put to the challenge, we consider it a fair comparison. We remind you that the Z3 can record in 4K resolution.

Left – iPhone 6, right – Sony Xperia Z3.

Video recording in slow motion

“Timeshift video” is the name of Sony’s feature to record videos in slow motion. It is capable of making videos at 720p and 120 frames per second. The iPhone’s slow motion is also restricted to 720p HD, but it can record at 240 fps. The Xperia Z3 managed to catch and focus the card at the edge of the scenery.

Apple iPhone 6 – left, Xperia Z3 – right.

Here are two shots, both taken from the videos that the iPhone(left) and the Xperia(right) made.

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Digital stabilization

Note that the Xperia Z3 relies on its smart SteadyShot Intelligent Active stabilization, while the iPhone 6 also has a “digital helper” but there is no on/off button for it.

Camera comparison

We measure the camera’s resolution in LPH (Lines per Picture Height), which is affected by both the lens and the sensor.

Smartphones Results (LPH) Result
difference
Price
Apple iPhone 6 Sony Exmor RS, 8 MP, 2030 (LPH), f/2.2 2030 0 % Check price
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge Sony IMX240 Exmor RS, 16 MP, 2800 (LPH), f/1.9 2800 37.93 % Check price
Motorola (Google) Nexus 6 Sony IMX214 Exmor RS, 13 MP, 3040 (LPH), f/2.0 3040 49.75 % Check price
LG G3 (3GB RAM) Sony IMX135 Exmor RS, 13 MP, 2430 (LPH), f/2.4 2430 19.7 % Check price

We have our own rating system for color accuracy reproduced by a device’s cameras. It’s a result of our algorithm, based on more than 20 of the main colors, and the ones which are most common in nature and everyday life (grass, human skin, sky, etc.).

Smartphones Results / 10 Result
difference
Price
Apple iPhone 6 Sony Exmor RS, 8 MP, 2030 (LPH), f/2.2 9.2 0 % Check price
Samsung Galaxy S6 edge Sony IMX240 Exmor RS, 16 MP, 2800 (LPH), f/1.9 7.0 – 23.91 % Check price
Motorola (Google) Nexus 6 Sony IMX214 Exmor RS, 13 MP, 3040 (LPH), f/2.0 9.5 3.26 % Check price
LG G3 (3GB RAM) Sony IMX135 Exmor RS, 13 MP, 2430 (LPH), f/2.4 9.2 0 % Check price

Camera evaluation

We should not be extreme in our assessment of whether the iPhone 6’s camera is better than those of its competitors, since criteria may vary. The photos we took made a great impression on us, but other devices have also performed wonderfully. The resolution isn’t cutting edge, but it must not be overlooked since the device is equipped with quality optics and software that works perfectly. Having almost no manual settings, the camera will disappoint art photography enthusiasts, but at the same time, it will benefit the majority of users who just want a way to quickly and easily capture their favorite moments.

Conclusion

conclusionThe Apple iPhone 6 is definitely a step forward compared to previous generation devices by the California company, and the most pleasant part is that to a large extent, it differs from the rest of the devices currently out on the market. The audience to which the iPhone 6 caters is very large, and it is a good marketing move from the manufacturer – the ease of use is suitable for all types of users, and its operating system is so intuitive that chances are, if you prefer a lot customization options, you’ll get bored of it. That’s why there is a large number of great Android smartphones available.

The charm of an iPhone is that the moment you buy it, you get an elegant device that “just works”, and its performance is top tear – the camera is great, the construction is impressive, CPU and GPU performance is very high and the display is as lovely as always. In the next generation of devices, we would like to see Apple leave behind the 16 GB version (keeping in mind, that there isn’t any MicroSD slot, and we are likely to never see one in an iPhone) and also increase battery capacity, maybe by sacrificing a millimeter or two from the thinness of the device.

Pros

  • Beautiful, aluminum body
  • High quality 4.7-inch IPS screen with Retina resolution
  • High performance
  • Intuitive iOS 8 OS
  • Great camera
  • Touch ID fingerprint sensor

Cons

  • Lack of MicroSD slot
  • We would like higher battery capacity

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